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If you could choose... pros/cons

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Producing Theater
Forum Name: Directing
Forum Discription: For questions about handling shows, actors, crew, board members, children ...or do we repeat ourselves?
URL: http://www.communitytheater.org/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4451
Printed Date: 4/17/24 at 7:35am
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Topic: If you could choose... pros/cons
Posted By: GracieLea
Subject: If you could choose... pros/cons
Date Posted: 2/02/10 at 11:23am
I've been given a choice of three shows to direct for our next season, and I'm not familiar with any of them.

I'd be interested in any comments/experiences/pros and cons about the three shows, as I mull over my decision. The nominees are:

Laughter on the 23rd Floor - Neil Simon

What the Butler Saw - Joe Orton

Anne of Green Gables
(sorry, don't remember the playwright on this one. I'm about 2/3 through the script and it's pretty cheesy...but this one has appeal because I do a lot of work with our children's theatre and this would be a good chance for some of our older teens to be in a "real" show)

Thanks for any insight!!



Replies:
Posted By: Amos Hart
Date Posted: 2/03/10 at 3:05am
If your theatre has any adult language issues, "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" is not for you.  I directed it about ten years ago.  Funny show, but it doesn't have any core goal for its characters and it has no ending.  I mean, it stops, but the ending is bleh.  It's more like a loosely connected series of anecdotes about "Your Show of Shows", which I loved, but much of the audience was no longer in tune with.
 
"Anne of Green Gables" I don't know.
 
I've seen "What the Butler Saw".  I'd do that.  Keep it moving.  It also has a problematic ending, but it's a farce so it can get away with that.  It's also easier on the director, in that all the movement is dictated by the script.  With "Laughter", you're going to spend a LOT of your time working on "What do I do with the nine people onstage who are saying funny things to each other but aren't moving a hell of a lot?  How do I move three or four of them without it being contrived or stealing focus?"


Posted By: edh915
Date Posted: 2/03/10 at 2:03pm
I totally agree with Amos Hart about "Laughter on the 23rd Floor".  It goes nowhere, and the language is bound to offend nearly half of your audience.

I'm not really all that wild about "What the Butler Saw" either.

I'm a sucker for "heartwarming" stuff.  If the script is at all decent, "Anne of Green Gables" could be great fun.  (I'm a big proponent of doing shows that you wouldn't be afraid to bring grandma to.)


Posted By: gelcat
Date Posted: 3/12/10 at 11:28am

There are several different scripts for "Anne" - it may be the script that is throwing you off at the moment.  I can't find the info on the version we did last year, but I know the director had a hard time finding the right script.



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www.actorsguildonline.org
Actors Guild of Parkersburg
Parkersburg, WV


Posted By: B-M-D
Date Posted: 3/12/10 at 1:49pm
Very different scripts.    Laughter On the 23rd Floor is my favorite.   Fall on the floor funny.   And Amos Hart did we read the same script?????   ".....doesn't have any core goal for its characters and it has no ending."  Are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?

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BD

"Dying is easy, comedy is hard."


Posted By: Amos Hart
Date Posted: 3/16/10 at 4:11pm
".....doesn't have any core goal for its characters and it has no ending."  Are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?"
 
Would I kid you?  I directed it.  It's a series of loosely connected anecdotes and the ending just lays there.  Audiences went with it until the ending and then went, "Huh?  That's it?"  Reading it and staging it are two different experiences.  What seemed ok on the page did NOT work when it was put on its feet.


Posted By: tristanrobin
Date Posted: 3/16/10 at 6:51pm
Originally posted by B-M-D

Very different scripts.    Laughter On the 23rd Floor is my favorite.   Fall on the floor funny.   And Amos Hart did we read the same script?????   ".....doesn't have any core goal for its characters and it has no ending."  Are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?


I have to totally agree with you.
The characters are very well defined and diverse - and there is most certainly an ending.
I think it's hysterical.

I also love all Joe Orton plays - but he is an acquired taste. I must say, I prefer Entertaining Mr. Sloane to What the Butler Saw - but Butler is also very very funny.

Not a fan of the overly sentimental mushy stuff (i.e. Anne of Green Gables) - though I did see a musical version which worked because the songs were nice and the singing and dancing in the production was superior.


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http://tristanrobin.blogspot.com


Posted By: B-M-D
Date Posted: 3/18/10 at 4:34pm
Originally posted by Amos Hart

".....doesn't have any core goal for its characters and it has no ending."  Are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?"
 
Would I kid you?  I directed it.  It's a series of loosely connected anecdotes and the ending just lays there.  Audiences went with it until the ending and then went, "Huh?  That's it?"  Reading it and staging it are two different experiences.  What seemed ok on the page did NOT work when it was put on its feet.
 
Ha! Read it and been in it.  Losely connected anecdotes?  Have to disagree with you 110%.  We had the audience in tears at the end.   I'm thinking perhaps you or your cast just didn't get it.    We are talking about the same script, Laughter on the 23rd Floor by Neil Simon based on the Sid Ceasar show, takes place in the 1950's?  Max punches out a wall, walks around in his boxers for part of the show?


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BD

"Dying is easy, comedy is hard."


Posted By: little_owl
Date Posted: 3/23/10 at 2:32pm
We did Anne of Green Gables when I was in the sixth grade. I want to do that play again. I remember we got a lot of flowers for the set.


Posted By: tech_director
Date Posted: 7/07/10 at 11:58am
I just saw "Laughter on the 23rd Floor".  I felt the same way as most on here.  You find out so early on that the Max Prince Show is failing and you know that it's going to end in failure.  You just spend another 1 1/2 hours watching it happen.


Posted By: lparks
Date Posted: 9/14/10 at 12:53am
I can tell you that in my opinion, Anne of Green Gables will likely outsell the other two. I could be wrong on this - but family pleasing shows tend to do better (at least from what I have seen) than do more adult themed shows.

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Landon Parks,
Producing Artistic Director,
Bloomington Repertory Theatre Co


Posted By: bronco1pat
Date Posted: 4/04/11 at 2:35pm
WOW! I can't believe some people think Laughter just dies and you see the ending coming, well of course you do, but its the journey that makes it all worth it.. Obviously it was directed by someone who didn't do any research into the time period of McCarthy'ism and the red scare and the time period, nor did they do any research in who these characters represented (Ira Stone was lovingly ripped of from Woody Allen among others).
 
I directed the show and for me it's a play about friendship and love and doing what is right and the way that those writers adored and loved max speaks to his heart and soul.
 
A beautiful show that while might offend some with language I think as long as you warn people you will have no problem with it. Do not apologize or edit for it, that is the way it was back then, remember Carol's monologue re: Speaking F*C&.
 
But, thats why its called art and everyone can have thier own feelings...


Posted By: Amos Hart
Date Posted: 4/04/11 at 2:59pm

    



Posted By: Amos Hart
Date Posted: 4/04/11 at 4:21pm

  



Posted By: Mike Polo
Date Posted: 4/04/11 at 6:54pm
Settle down, people. Let's keep it civil on this board, please. Respect each other's opinions and they'll respect yours.



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Mike Polo
Community Theater Green Room
http://www.communitytheater.org
http://www.twitter.com/CTGreenRoom">


Posted By: avcastner
Date Posted: 11/12/12 at 8:52pm
I directed _Anne of Green Gables_ by Sylvia ??? back in 1999.  Very good script.  Great for teen actors!  I would highly recommend it.  Some of the other versions are very cheesy.


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